Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Luving Sunshine

I finally finished the binding on this cuddle quilt for Sunshine last night.
I used the Flowers in the Sunshine pattern by Sweet Jane and the Luv U fabrics by Deb Strain for Moda. This is another example of my thinking 'I have no idea of what I will do with this' when I got the fabrics. A few years ago, long before I started shopping for fabrics online, my BFF called and said she was going to get a charm pack, the alphabet book and the panel from this line and do I want some too. Sure. Why not. It's cute, bright and cheery.
The pile sat in a box for a long while and eventually while hunting all over the web I came across the pattern, actually done in the same fabrics. Decision made as to what the fabrics would become. It was really easy and came together in a couple of weeks, which for me is fast because I typically only get an hour or so at my machine at any one time. I bet that it could be done in one day if that much time was actually available.
My long arm master Dianna didn't get any direction from me as to what to do and she ended up choosing a swirly butterfly pattern with a variegated yellow and green thread. She knows how I love all things swirly and it was a great choice. It looks wonderful.
Now I have a lot more appreciation for precuts and how they make projects come together quickly. A neighbor friend is expecting a baby girl in the spring (after having 2 very rambunctious boys) and the leftover charms from this line and adding a few coordinating pieces from my stash will create a similar cuddle quilt to welcome her little miss to the world.  I'm guessing that this simple adorable pattern will be a go-to for quickie cuddle quilts again and again.

Improvising

In trying to find the best way for me to get the hand stitching on the bindings actually done, I've had to try a few different things. With the first binding, I just held it in place while I stitched. Not very comfortable or conducive to working fast. The 2nd binding I actually pinned in place but hated getting stick by the pins constantly. That method would actually make me not want to do the bindings at all and that would not be a good thing. I want to finish my quilts, not have them pile up as UFOs.

So after the last pin pricking session, I looked up other options and found the Clover Wonder Clips. Great! Perfect for my needs! Except.....I am trying really hard to no go overboard with my quilting spending. This hobby is expensive enough and while many tools available are very necessary and worth their weight in gold, others I need to try to find an less expensive alternative. Then I found these online and and thought hmmmm......they look a lot like the barrettes I use for Sunshine's hair. I ventured on over to my local dollar store and found the exact same thing for half the price. And they work great. They hold the binding in place as I stitch, are easy to remove with the other hand as I get to them, and make the whole process go a lot smoother and faster.

Less cost, faster completion and not feeling like a human pin cushion....all great things in my book!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thistles and Vines

This is the very first quilt I ever made. It is from the pattern my BFF learned at her Beginning Quilting class. With the help of her instructions and a number of books, I self taught myself the blocks and put it together.

The top was completed in January 2010 but since we traveled to China and brought our daughter home soon after, started the process of building our new house last summer and moved this past spring, the long arm work wasn't completed until July of this year.
To be honest, I was thrilled of how well it turned out. When I began it, I had no clue as to whether I could do this or not but as they say "the proof is in the pudding", or more appropriately "the proof is in the stitching".

I really love the way the green binding makes the green in the prints really come to the forefront. The colors in this were tough for me at first since at that point in time I normally didn't veer towards gold, rust and sage but I noticed the main prints immediately in the store and no matter what else I looked at, kept coming back to this combination.

Choosing which one would be the top focus fabric and which would become the backing was challenging (I am a Libra after all) but you can obviously see what I chose then. With all that I have seen and learned plus the new shades, colors and patterns that I have come to really like in the past 2 years, if I were to do this one over again I'd use the backing fabric for the top and I'd put the one with the red lattice as the backing.

This first quilt will always hold special meaning for me since it is what led me on this wonderful quilting journey that is now a passion for me. Daily as it graces the back of my favorite chair, it reminds me just what I can accomplish when I am determined.

Friday, November 11, 2011

This week's arrivals

The mailman was very kind to me this week. Loads of new goodies arrived to dazzle me with creating desire. Thanks to a friend's need to destash, my stash got a huge infusion and has grown by leaps and bounds. Most of these are fat quarters but some are actually fat halves. All told probably about 9-10 yards of beautiful cotton fabric candy.
I also received multiple yardages of these Amanda Murphy fabrics. Gorgeous don't you agree? My mind is swirling with ideas of what to do with all this bounty.
Along with the above wonder, I received some patterns, a new book on Japanese quilts, a spool of great (so I have read) thread that I can't wait to try and a Cover 6 1/2 x 24 ruler, the brand that everyone raves about. I feel like I hit the quilting jackpot.

In addition to all of this, my Ghastlie fabric also arrived! I want to shout it from the roof I am so excited. I don't want to do anything else but get started on the projects that I have planned for this. I have 5 on my list so far.
This fabric line is beyond fun and those that know me and my love for Halloween will attest that they knew I'd own it at some point once I learned it existed. I even picked up a few other little bundles online at a great sale that will coordinate with the Ghastlies well. I especially love the damask wallpaper print. I felt bad about spending the money on this set but since I worked a craft show last weekend for a friend, I more than made up for it.

I have never had so much new fabric come home at once and it will be interesting finding a place to put it all. At the moment all of my stash shares space with a few drawers full of scrapbooking tools and supplies but I be thinking that those items are going to get smushed together so that I can get my new fabric lovlies all cozy and safe in a drawer of their own.

Teacher Quilt Project

A couple of weeks ago the light bulb in my head went off when I came up with the idea to make Jammer's teachers lap quilts for their end of year gifts. Why in the world am I thinking about this now you ask? Because I want all the classmates families to be part of it and for that, it takes time and want them complete before the end of the school year in June.

I came up with the plan to design the quilts 100 Good Wishes style. Originally my plan was to sew one block to represent each student but since there are 21 kids in the class, that didn't work out well in a quilt design. So instead of 1 for each child, there will be 2. Forty two 6" blocks in all.

I asked the teachers their favorite colors (they have no clue why I wanted to know) and the head teacher chose purple and green. The assistant chose royal blue and green. So I asked each family to purchase 1/2 yard of 4 different fabrics, one each light and dark green, one blue and one purple. This is what I have received so far.

I chose blocks that used only 2-3 fabrics (I'm adding a coordinate to what I receive from the families) and laid them out sampler style to give everyone a view of the proposed end result, though I may switch up some of the blocks for other ones I find later. (If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears as long as they don't contain curves or applique.)
One each pair of blocks are done, I'll get a picture of them with the child represented by those fabrics and in the spring each child will write something to the teachers about their school year.  The letters will be put into a scrapbook along with the pictures of each child with their blocks. Plus of course a picture of all the kids with both completed quilts.

The parents loved this idea, especially since it is more memorable than a gift certificate to a bookstore or a restaurant and it is something they will keep and remember our children through for years to come. I can't wait to see how it all turns out and their reaction when they receive them. Stay tuned for more updates as this project progresses.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Overhang

Just outside the door of my studio is a half wall that overlooks our great room which has turned out to be a terrific place for managing rows in progress. With the limited space in my studio, this works out well for keeping the pieces neat and wrinkle free.
The view from below. Kinda cool to look up and see them as I'm doing other things. The bad part? When I glance that way all I want to do it to hurry upstairs and get back to work, forgetting about everyone else and everything that needs my attention. 
This is the 100 Good Wishes Quilt that I am putting together for Miss M. I hope to have the time soon to sew the rows together and then I get to head out to the LQSs to find the perfect border and backing fabrics. I'm sure that when I do that I will come home with more than just those though. Sometimes when I'm in a store fabrics just call out to me to buy them and who am I to try to resist!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My new quilting hangout

Welcome! Glad you are along for the ride. My life in the quilting world, both online and offline, is getting bigger and bigger by the day and so after much thought, I decided to separate some of that from my personal blog. Plus I have a lot of projects in the works that are gifts or secrets and I want to write about the processes hence the need to create a place to do just that without the secrets getting out to the future receipents.

In this newly create space in the blogisphere I hope to share with you my inspiration, my cravings (of the fabric kind of course) and my creations both big and small. Hopefully it will be fun for all and you will return often. Keep your fingers crossed that I will find loads of time to sew so that I will have something to share.